Kerry arrives in Turkey
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Turkey early today on the first leg of a 10-day trip to Europe and Asia that also would seek to unlock long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Kerry was expected to encourage Turkish leaders to continue improving ties with Israel. The two countries once were allies, but relations spiraled downward after Israel’s 2010 raid on a Turkish flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip. Eight Turks and one Turkish- American died.
Obama: Budget not ideal but has reforms
President Barack Obama says his soon-to-be released budget, already criticized by friends and foes, is not his “ideal plan” but offers “tough reforms” for benefit programs and scuttles some tax breaks for the wealthy.
That’s a mix, he contends, that will provide long-term deficit reduction without harming the economy.
In his first comments about the 2014 spending blueprint he’s set to release Wednesday, Obama said he intends to reduce deficits and provide new money for public-works projects, early education and job training.
“We don’t have to choose between these goals — we can do both,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address, broadcast Saturday.
Woman is 1st to lead prayer for Mormons
SALT LAKE CITY
For the first time in the event’s 183-year history, a woman led a prayer Saturday at the semiannual gathering of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Jean A. Stevens led the morning session’s closing prayer for the more than 100,000 Mormons gathered in Salt Lake City for the two-day general conference, and the millions more watching via satellite, radio or Internet broadcast.
Among other church roles, Stevens is member of a three-person board that advises and assists parents on teaching their children about the faith, which has more than 14 million members worldwide.
Nuke talks with Iran fail to reach agreement
Iran and six world powers failed to reach agreement Saturday on how to reduce fears that Tehran might use its nuclear technology to make weapons, extending years of inconclusive talks and adding to concerns the diplomatic window on reaching a deal with Tehran may soon close.
Expectations the negotiations were making progress rose as an afternoon session continued into the evening. But comments by the two sides after they ended made clear that they fell far short of making enough headway to qualify the meeting as a success.
US delays missile test
Amid mounting tensions with North Korea, the Pentagon has delayed an intercontinental ballistic missile test that had been planned for next week at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, a senior defense official told The Associated Press on Saturday.
The official said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel decided to put off the long-planned Minuteman 3 test until sometime next month because of concerns the launch could be misinterpreted and exacerbate the Korean crisis.